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Rally Draws Out Teachers, Supporters and Honks. Lawmakers May Not Be Listening.

| March 8, 2011

Swimming against a flood of painful bills. The rally drew some 270 people in Palm Coast. (© FlaglerLive)

They lined the west side of Belle Terre Parkway near Kohl’s, their convictions and exasperations told in signs: “Florida teachers A+ – Florida Lawmakers F”; “If You Have a Job, Thank An Educator”; “I Screwed You All, But Thanks for Blaming It on the Black Guy” (that one on a t-shirt, with George W. Bush’s portrait sandwiched between the words); “Public Education Is a Right”; “Tax Cuts for Dummies,” that one pointing to the flow of money out of education and into corporate pockets.

They wore red shirts—most of them—they yelled out slogans at passing cars—“Save the Middle Class,” “Save Our Schools”—and they solicited honks from passing four to 18-wheelers for about an hour starting at 4 p.m. The “Awake the State” rally in Palm Coast was one of dozens across the state as public employees mobilize to protest severe cuts in education budgets and sweeping changes that would redraw the rules of union membership, weakening collective bargaining powers in a state where union power is already more nominal than substantive.

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The rally in Palm Coast was a relatively quieter one. It included three school board members, several principals and numerous teachers and service employees and their families or supporters. It appeared slightly smaller than last spring’s rally in the same place against a senate bill that would have eliminated teacher tenure and measured teachers’ effectiveness by their students’ results on standardized tests.

Other than the sullen or indifferent silence of some of the passing cars (as opposed to enthusiastic and at times blaring horns), the 270-odd demonstrators, according to a head count, faced no opposition, the way other rallies in more populous places in the state did, including in Volusia County and around the Capitol in Tallahassee, where that “Awake the State” edition drew counter-demonstrations of well-heeled tea party activists, who hadn’t had much to demonstrate about since the end of the health care reform debate.

Rally reds: former school board member Jim Guines, left, and current members Andy Dance and Colleen Conklin. (© FlaglerLive)

Last spring, the rally, and many like it across the state, helped lead to then-Gov. Charlie Crist’s veto of the bill in contention at the time. The effectiveness of this year’s rally is more doubtful: Gov. Rick Scott doesn’t hide his antipathy for teachers, unions or public employees. He intends to cut the budget by some $3.3 billion and wants to cut taxes despite a gaping budget deficit. And he appeals to his tea party base first.

Jill Woolbright, a sixth grade teacher at Bunnell Elementary, and a 20-year veteran, was asked how much political leverage the rally might have  this year. She did not hesitate. “Very little,” Woolbright said. “I don’t think what we’re doing here is going to matter. I think the Republicans and Rick Scott is going to so what he set out to do before he was even elected. I think it helps build solidarity between the teachers, the paras”—meaning the para-professional employees such as teacher aides and secretaries—“the support staff, even the principals out here, and school board members. I think it helps draw us together, which is important because morale is so low. It helps morale, but as far as really doing anything in Tallahassee it’s probably going to do very little. And then this community, I think people think teachers are rich, because our unemployment is so high they think we have plenty and they don’t understand what goes on in the trenches and what demands are made of us, because they were in a classroom once. The classroom they were in is totally different than the classroom we have now. So I don’t think we’re going to have a lot of support from the public.”

Trash collections may be cut, too. (© FlaglerLive)

Nancy Willis, the principal at Old Kings Elementary, remembers the teacher walk-out of 1966, when it compelled the state to put more money into education. That’s what she’s hoping these rallies will do this time, though there’s no talk or movement toward a walk-out. Willis concedes that lawmakers haven’t been listening. “So far they haven’t been” she said, “but I’m hoping they will be.”

Willis was holding a sign with Vernon Orndorff, in his first year as principal at Indian Trails Middle School. Teachers, he said, are taken seriously, but not supported by the state. “What’s interesting is that what our teachers are going through on a daily basis,” he said, “what they have to deal with with their own families, without failure they come to work on a daily basis and give our students exemplary lessons every day in this time of turmoil.”

Leading the rally was Katie Hansen, president of the Flagler County Educators Association, the teachers’ union. (Her mother Gail Widing, who led the association for 18 years, was there, too, glad to see her daughter in charge now. She remembers her daughter telling her, “I’m never going to be union president. You’re always on the phone. Yup She stepped in like a natural.”)

Katie Hansen (© FlaglerLive)

Katie Hansen (© FlaglerLive)

“The whole point of what we did was to raise awareness, and I think that is one of the biggest struggles we have, is that people simply aren’t aware of the issues, aware of the legislation that’s coming our way, and the bottom line which is the consequences that the children are going to ace, because of what we’re facing.” How is a student going to feel the consequence of a teacher’s pension issues or merit pay scale? (One of Scott’s proposals is to require public employees to shift 5 percent of their pay to their pension fund, which amounts to a 5 percent pay cut, since the pension contribution from the state is part of teachers’ contractual compensation package—it’s not a separate “gift.”

“It causes stress,” Hansen said. “When we don’t have that 5 percent in our pockets, we’re the largest working force in Flagler County. If I don’t have that money in my pocket, then I can’t spend it out in the community, which means my student’s mom, who works at Olive Garden, may not have a job anymore. Business is going to decline, it’s going to be felt throughout the community. And studies show when there’s declining socio-economic areas, the test scores show that.”

Jim Guines, the former Flagler County School Board member, was also there. He’s just turned 79. He was wearing a white shirt, lending his support. He’s known a few demonstrations of his own. He lived through the civil rights era. Yet he doesn’t recognize the political movements sweeping the nation. This demonstration, he said, is part of a much larger national context. He doesn’t like what he sees coming out of Tallahassee. “This is a well-orchestrated plan to destroy public education as we know it,” Guines said. “I don’t know how it happened. I must have been asleep or something.”

Wyatt Christopher Hansen, a first grader at Belle Terre Elementary and Katie Hansen's son, telegraphing his priorities. (© FlaglerLive)

43 Responses for “Rally Draws Out Teachers, Supporters and Honks. Lawmakers May Not Be Listening.”

  1. LivingInReality says:

    I going to restate something that i said in another comment, watch out for the school board and administrators. Trust them as far as you can throw them.

  2. Liana G says:

    Stay strong folks

    Join and get involved in a larger group that will make a greater impact. Also check out

    America ranks #9 out of the 10 most politically corrupt countries. We need strong unions now more than ever. Support your Unions so you can have a voice!

    Union Strong!

  3. kevin says: Why not educate yourself on facts that you obtain by getting involved personally in the data collection credible sources then you may discuss your position with greater credibility when addressing those who may not agree with your position or need enlightening. MoveOn’s biases are as obvious as the sun is in the sky. Honestly, this is where you seek wisdom or do you seek to enjoy the simple pleasures one feels when their leftist idiologies are confirmed by organizations like MO?

    As I have often said, I know that teachers have gotten the shitty end of the stick. I wished there was some way to reallocate the benefits and compensation programs from police and fire, redistributing some of their cash towards that of the teachers.

  4. dlf says:

    Liana G we are #9 most ranked corrupt country, could that be in part to the unions, we do remember the Teamster and Hoffa don’t we? The UAW with the help of the government and management did a great job of killing the auto industry. Should we discuss why so many of our product are made in China? Like the sign said if you do not love unions move to China, is that because that is where all the jobs are?

    What a one sided article ,again, from Flagler Live. Your reference to the ” well heeled tea party ” demonstrations is based on what? your one sided reporting. The one teacher cries about not having 5% more money in her pocket and not being able to go to the Olive Garden, what about the 7 million plus who have zero dollars in their pockets. Once again, we have a special group that do not think they are part of the problem or should they be part of the solution. They are part of the problem much like the rest of us and their bull is going to get gored like many other special groups. As far as the t shirt making reference to who screwed who don’t blame the black, he to is part of the problem, he was in Congress when his party started this mess, he voted for this mess and he has had two years do help clean it up. Oops I forgot he is busy shutting down the prison in Cuba, maybe we can use some of the money from that shut down for the teachers in Flagler.I did not read one comment on how to solve the problem we have, not one, except for the sign if you are not a union lover move to China, now that is a great example of the class some of the teachers expressed. I guess that was a teacher just like Flagler Live guessed that the tea party members were well heeled and were t party members.

  5. BW says:

    Great article. Not a fan of Scott’s positions are speculations on some things. I do agree tenure is a tradition that needs a second look and probably needs to go away. Pay increases and continuation in a job (yes, even for teachers) should be based on performance. I do not agree that the performance should be solely measured on test scores although they should be a component. Performance reviews that are well-rounded, fair, and tied to development and compensation are often a big motivator.

    Likewise, we are all dealing with higher contribution rates to benefits and retirements. Since these are often before-tax deductions the difference is minimal in regards to take home pay. The County and Country are dealing with lower tax revenues and like any employer who’s revenue is down . . . employees are going to feel it. It’s just how the world works. I don’t think people think teachers are “rich” as the one stated. I personally don’t think the board should be paid which would free up some funds, but that is another topic.

  6. lawabidingcitizen says:

    Get real.

    They’re not supporting kids or teachers, they’re supporting more power for the unions who’ve ruined our once top notch public school system.

  7. Bob Z. says:

    Our education system is not ruined, nor is it as bad as a lot of people are saying – Florida ranks much higher than most states. And the unions are only trying to ensure that the workers they support get what they deserve…it is a two way street and they negotiate with the school board since they cannot strike, walk-out, etc.

    In regards to their pensions, they were hired under the assumption they were not required to contribute so why should they now? Maybe new hires should contribute but not those already in the system.

    Finally, there are a lot of Floridians out of work but those people chose what they wanted to do in life: Flagler County has a lot of unemployed construction workers without degrees or other skills so it is hard for them to find work now – that should not matter when it comes to what teachers get, and deserve.

  8. Albert says:

    Having volunteered for 20 years in Flagler public schools, and subbed; I too have seen ALL of the changes that teachers have gone through.
    I get so frustrtated when anything is projected for education cuts. Are we trying to make more students fail at life?
    And, don’t even get me started about holding teachers accountable. Who are the students first teachers? their parents!! Let’s hold them accountable big time, they are the ones who should make sure kids do homework, they are the ones who should show up to conferences ( and be respectful to call that they won’t be there), it’s THEIR child NOT the teachers. I speak to those who are inconsiderate parents and don’t care to help their child — I hear it all the time, “my mom/dad was too tired to help me, she/he said do it on your own. I’ve already gone to school.”
    I believe a teacher can only work with a student who has been taught the correct way to act in school and that has to come from the parent. It’s a joke we have to have a separate school for those that might slip through the cracks, cha ching. WAKE UP PARENTS. Do your job so teachers can have students who are in the classroom to learn.
    Gov. Scott you haven’t got a clue what goes on in the classroom, maybe you should visit some time.

  9. Gatorbabe says:

    We all have become a bunch of babies! Oh, the poor lady who can’t go to the Olive Garden – boo hoo. Gee, you may have to cut back on your luxuries as so many of us already have. Going out to eat or even to a movie isn’t in the budget for many of us. So, what teachers etc. are saying is that they can’t teach or do their job &, taking a pay cut & keeping their job isn’t a option. Don’t people in the School System know how lucky they are? So many other people have lost their jobs, but the people in education. have had JOB SECURITY, something they rest of us do not take for granted. We have to tighten our belts to the point that we can’t breath to get over this huge deficit and talking about what was done in the past isn’t going to help us in the present! Yes, the jobs have moved over seas and the people over there are happy to have them because they want to WORK. We here in the U.S. have become overindulged. I totally dislike Unions, they will ruin everything because they can and will.

  10. palmcoaster says:

    I was totally unaware of this rally otherwise I would have been there too, for our atudents for our teachers for our public workers and the survival of our middle society being attacked by this new elected GOP governors and their buddies in Washington DC. When is next rally, please let us know so we can join you.

  11. Bob Z. says:

    The people in the school system are not “lucky” – they worked hard to get where they are and most of them truely love what they do; the vast majority have educational levels higher than the majority of Floridians, which they should since they are instructing our children. And contrary to popular belief, teachers can be fired if they are not doing the job they are paid for.

  12. palmcoaster says:

    Lets recall these newly elected Governors, please.

  13. BW says:

    I think many are really muddying up the issues when it comes to education across the country. For one, I don’t agree with trying to block collective bargaining rights as it is contradictory to employment rights. The second part is that teaching is a job in which someone is employed. The employer just happens to be the government. Like all employment things change over time and both sides need to be open to change. Tenure is surely something that needs a second look as it doesn’t make sense and I don’t see how the case could be made that tenure is in a student’s best interest. I’m not a fan of this “you should feel lucky to have a job” attitude by many people. People are appreciative they are doing what they are passionate about. The problem with that statement is that many feel that the employee is open game to be “abused”.

    I don’t agree with the blame game either. Parents blaming teachers and teachers blaming parents. Yes, both parties contribute to the child’s education. What we tend to forget is that the child is a person who will make choices themselves. I think our educators locally do a great job. And I can fully appreciate the resistance to a review process which puts a large amount of weight on test scores. And I think teachers do have a right to be heard on the issues.

    Education is important. Just like R&D is something a company invests in for it’s future, education is an investment in our future. And there is this strange theme going on as Dr. Guines eluded to where there is this effort to do away with the education system in our country. That’s the kind of stuff that is the most concerning in my opinion.

  14. Nanci says:

    PalmCoaster: you can look at our website: we post all rallies, protests and meetings. And while you’re it – please join! Help us “Stand with Teachers” and all other workers. We have revamped the Flagler Democrats and need new blood. Next meeting March 22…see website for details We have a lot of work to do with this governor and legislature – come get involved.

  15. kevin says:

    Palm Coaster,

    We elected these people to what they are doing now, working to reel in government waste and perpetually increasing spending/budgets. Sorry PC, sit back and enjoy the ride-you are in the passenger seat this time and in some ways I hope its an ugly unsettling ride for people like you. But unlike you and your kind, I will hold the right middle, conservatives, whoever accountable for their actions if it is not in the best interests of our state.

    Don’t get your panties in such a tightwad anyway. Most of the issue is really being dramatized and falsely spun by most media outlets. As was like the popular talking point, still to this time regarding this president, let the new officials have a little time to work things out and then let’s see how things settle. Isn’t that what the disingenuous and intellectually dishonest complaint you and people like you crowed about when you allowed hundreds of billions of stimulus dollars and other programs to get ram-rodded through by those you sided with? They didn’t even read the laws yet vermin like Nancy Pelosi make unnerving comments as she did attesting to the need to get it done first then read it attitude, shoving the majority of America’s citizens focus on her like one shoves a dog’s nose into shit when they poop in the house. Why I aught to….At least this doesn’t further enslave the middle class to the trillions of debt obligations created from bailing out criminal CEOs, their corporations, unions, and foreign entities that couldn’t give a shit about America and especially its people.

    Although this may seem contrary to what I said above, I do believe that technically and morally teachers should be afforded attention and support in the form of dollars from our state. There are ways to get it done, however it might take away from other groups who won’t give an inch or a percentage in their benefits or lucrative compensation packages so to even save one teacher’s job. With the help of their unions, they teach others “lessons” for vaguely considering to touch their money because it’s needed to afford for a house in the inlet, a black porsche similar to the ones they hell about corporate employees for having located in their own driveway, retired at the age of 54, and yet working full-time in another county.

    Get the facts before you “F” things up worse Sir.

  16. Liana G says:

    Yes Kevin – MOVEON.ORG the organization that’s backing the unions safegarding the rights of hard working individuals so that they can eke out a descent living.

    Are unions perfect? No, but to ASS U ME that unions are the ones responsible for our corrupt government is corporate control spin brought to you by the same corporations that control our government.

    I suppose the following is a result of Unions.

    Americans Working More, Earning Less (September 2003)

    “The U.S. is alone among industrialized countries in failing to ensure a minimum number of paid vacation days, leaving us with the fewest days of annual paid leave of any wealthy nation.

    The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that, even after three years at a job, Americans average just 10.2 annual vacation days. In 2000, 20 million U.S. workers did not get a single day of paid vacation. Meanwhile, our peers abroad typically enjoy 4-6 weeks of paid leave.

    Today Americans work, on average, a month longer each year than 20 years ago. During the last 30 years, work weeks have become shorter, and the number of days of paid leave increased everywhere else in the industrialized world.

    Our poor position is remarkable since the U.S. ranks near the top of the list of developed nations in worker productivity. U.S. laborers have increased their output per hour by 30% since 1973. Our average hourly wage in 1998 was $12.77 instead of the $18.40 we would have received simply by sharing in the benefits of our increased productivity.

    Sharing the benefits of increased productivity could have freed us to work 3 ½ day weeks or five-hour days without losing income, thus allowing us time to lead richer social and family lives and allowing many enough time away from work to actually enjoy our time on the job. Instead we’re living less and working more. Why?

  17. Liana G says:


    Dear MoveOn Member,

    Did you see the email we sent yesterday about the horrific impact of the GOP’s budget proposal? (If you didn’t, it’s below).

    Congress needs to hear from all of us right away, because the only chance we have to stop this budget is if Senate Democrats stand united against it. And the first vote could come today.

    Can you call Sen. Nelson and tell him to stand strong against Republicans’ massive, devastating cuts?
    Senator Bill Nelson
    Phone: 202-224-5274
    Then, please report your call by clicking here:

    After you’ve called, please spread the word about this terrible budget. Believe it or not, the list below is just the beginning. For example, the budget would also block the EPA from enforcing the Clean Air Act and cleaning up coal-fired power plants, and put America’s drinking water and waterways at risk of sewage and urban runoff pollution.

    When people realize how awful these cuts would be for them, their families, and their communities, we win the debate.

    Thanks for all you do.

  18. palmcoaster says:

    With your rhetoric Kevin you are supporting the same corporations that control the current and past administration as well. The muck you try to spread will not cover up the sad reality while you speak from both ends of your mouth. The abuses of our labor force as well as the war of attrition to our middle society if successful will catch up with you as well, no matter were you stand now. Remember the Roman Empire. I been to Europe in business and I know their workers enjoy one month vacation a year practically from the start. Can you see Europeans coming to America and buying the homes that most can’t afford here? What do you wish for our country?… more ignorance thanks to the lack of proper education and sufficient teachers for all the taxes we pay? What do you want my high taxes paying; for no services thanks to the insufficient number public workers? Do you want our workers, making $130/month like the Chinese enslaved by American Corporations like Apple and the like? Man, you are caving your own financial grave. I am not and I hope we have sufficient numbers to recall all these newly elected governors and their cronies. Right on Liana!

  19. Christie2012 says:

    1 in 4 high school kids can not pass the military entrance exam and we have teachers on the streets saying their the victims. Sounds to me these young man and woman who were cheated out of good education from the government school system are the real victims.
    Today we learn 82 percent of U.S. schools could be labeled as “failing” under the nation’s No Child Left Behind Act this year. Why you ask? Because states are toughening their standards to meet the requirements of the law. What’s the standard you ask? Student achievement targets designed with the goal of having all students proficient in math and reading by 2014. Is wanting a child to be proficient in math and reading to much to ask?
    It’s good to see the Republicans finally have a voice with these teacher unions. As we are forced to pay taxes each year, this money is trickled down to the unions that support democrats 95 to 100 percent of the time. Talk about a racket.

  20. Jo-Anne says:

    I know that times are tough and tough decisions have to be made. ehere is the Legislature/Congress/Senate offering up 5% of their salaries. They get medical benefits and pensions. This is never a subject for cuts in spending. Perhaps we should all run for political office and then we can have some security for our later years. So are we supporting that salaries across the board should be based on performance? If the police don’t catch a criminal, then they shouldn’t get paid. If a house burns down, don’t pay the fire department, likewise with ambulance, doctors, sugreons, nurses and the list goes on.
    So many porfessions have to rely on numerous variables beyond their control. Yet the go to work everyday and give it their all. Teachers are only asking for some job security. Due process. Even a criminal gets his/her day in court.
    If an teacher is not doing his/her job, then their is an administrator that should be doing a job too- firing someone. That can be done. Bad teachers don’t last. They don’t have the “gift” and don’t stay. The bad ones that do are well known by admins and their colleagues, again I say- Principal do your job- fire that person.
    Believe me, good teachers would support that.
    But don’t punish a teacher for not being successful when a child doesn’t come to school, was awake all night- (too much to explain there) has no one at home to say do your homework, read a book. How do you deal with kids in 6th grade who have NEVER been to the beach? How can that student relate to swimming, fishing, tide, current, sand, erosion, tectonic plates, salt marshes and all the other curriuculm areas that relate. School trips are a thing of the past. We haven’t had any in a few years due to budget. How can you give them these experiences that lead to learning? A teacher can’t. Yet teachers are judged on learning gains. I know you are thinking that I am going to blame parents. Well I won’t. Rare is the household where only 1 parent is working. Almost as rareee are two parent families. Most of us are from a generation where mom was at home. This too has changed so how can you expect this not to impact our children? It impacts them on so many levels. They aren’t constantly hearing that school is important. Many are raising themselves so the parent can work and work to give them the basics. These kids lack the constant guidance that we were raised with. Yet, teachers use every minute of their day trying to fill these gaps while getting Johnny to read.
    I see another generation of “Why Johnny Can’t Read” like we saw in the late 1970’s when budget cuts were high throughout the country. Why can’t we learn from our own history? The answer is not simple, but we are cheating our future if we don’t invest in our kids.

  21. Dorothea says:

    One in four high school kids cannot pass the military entrance exam? Or would that be one in four kids who apply for the military cannot pass the military exam? That would be after many other high school kids opted to attend college. Under the crcumstances, a seventy-five per cent passing rate is not all that bad.

    A study done in California shows that students and their schools in affluent neighborhoods are far from failing. In fact most scored the highest rating of “10”. There are many factors that affect a student’s ability to learn besides teachers. If a child comes from a homeless family, living in one room in a hotel or a car, it would be difficult to learn. If a child come from a neighborhood beset with gangs and gang violence, it would be difficult to learn. There are many other factors involved besides the schools and their teachers when it comes to the ability to learn.

    The biggest racket in the United States is the corporate interests that syphon billions of dollars into the coffers of Republicans who have promised these corporation that, if elected, they will break the back of the unions while lowering corporate taxes and who could care less about our ever diminishing middle class. The biggest dupes in the United States are those that support them even if against their own interests.

  22. kevin says:

    Linda G:

    “Are unions perfect? No, but to ASS U ME that unions are the ones responsible for our corrupt government is corporate control spin brought to you by the same corporations that control our government. ”

    That did make me laugh for a moment. Linda, no where have I stated what you said. This seems to be a problem, reading and critical thinking. The problem with unions and specifically, public unions, is the inherent conflict of interests associated with their existence. Obviously they have some benefits especially here in Florida. IN many other cities and states where unions are big, they create more problems than they serve to correct. They need to be carefully handled as they often morph into power hungry, costly abusive groups that hurt everyone, including the newest members that they sacrifice at times as a result of their greed and the children they boldly use in their the very ugly demonstrations.

    Look at California for the best of example of what happens as they control the taxpayers and the politicians. The average citizen has for retirement 60,000 for use over their lifetime, the public employee will collect approximately 1,000,000 over their lifetime and that of their legal partner or spouse. Also focus on the fact that I am for the teachers not so much their unions. Teachers need to work with the public more so that we can all come down hard on the man, and then they’ll cough up whatever we agree to for them. Unfortunately the public is not in agreement with all that is being communicated by the teachers through their aggressive union leaders and ugly demonstrations.

  23. dlf says:

    I read all the reason why we have this problem, but still no solutions. Bush tried no child left behind and we threw millions of dollars at the problem. Obama now has a new gimmick and it will result in more being spent without the success rate many of the other countries are getting. We are so far behind the other couturiers in education it makes you sick. So, my question is; when are the teachers, school boards and parents going to come up with solutions to the problem, money has not worked, when do we hold someone feet to the fire and demand results not some lame excuse. When do you stop blaming everything and everyone else and look in the mirror? Its not big business its not the unions it is the lack of anyone standing up and saying if we do not work together to get the needed results we pay you to get you are fired, union or no union. The public is getting tired or all these lame excuses and the fact we are not educating our children

  24. Monica Campana says:

    Many children are being well educated in public schools. Wonder how that happens. UF turns away 4.0 GPA’s with high SAT scores due to volume. Lawabiding claims “our once great public schools”- when was that? When literacy and college graduation rates were half what they are today? Public schools perform miracles. Reform IS needed and our dollars would be well spent on educating parents to read to their babies. Nothing makes more difference in developing young minds and preparing them for school.

  25. Dorothea says:

    California’s budget was devasted by Proposition 9 many years ago, not by unions. Florida followed suit.with similar results, budget shortfalls. As for suggestions for improving education, one suggestion would be to encourage students to embrace and revere scientific thinking, not religious dogma such as Creationism.

  26. kevin says:

    Dear Dorothea:

    You are absolutely incorrect with this comment:

    “California’s budget was devastated by Proposition 9 many years ago, not by unions”

    …California ia in fact bankrupt due in large part to the outrageously skewed compensation levels of retirees from California government, many of whom have either left or are leaving as residents due to their increasing tax burdens , taking more dollars out of their system, and other pension benefits, as well as future obligations which in the billions of dollars. Logical and moral reasoning will bring most anyone given all the facts pension plans of that state to conclude they need restructuring.

    A tremendous amount of factual information is available to support the facts I have briefly outlined. Thank you and have a good day as it is simply beautiful outside which causes me to consider why it is we suffer through hot months to live in this beautiful state. Can we agree on that?

  27. kevin says:

    May I add that regardless of whether or nto pensions and skewed compensation packages are the number one, two, or thrid problem at the top of the list, they are a problem to the big picture and they need to be addressed now and things like what are happening around the country brought them to people’s attention. Look…

    “Many of these retirees are former police officers, firefighters, and prison guards who can retire at age 50 with a pension that equals 90% of their final year’s pay. The pensions for these (and all other retirees) increase each year with inflation and are guaranteed by taxpayers forever—regardless of what happens in the economy or whether the state’s pensions funds have been fully funded (which they haven’t been).”

    Just a quick comment on CA. Unions come into the picture because they control the tax payers and they absolutely have significant control on the politicians, no person can deny the conlict of interest that emerges from public employee unions. Try getting the Florida Firfighters union to give up a percentage point or two on their GUARNATEED 6-7% (sorry I cannot find out what it is paying at this time) for what they get on theri money while it is in DROP, or just a small percentage of any of their outrageously skewed, highly lucrative pension benefits to help teachers or let alone, save 5 teachers’ jobs.

    I would love to present the facts to anyone interested in learning them. I was at one time qualified through licensing, education, and experience to do just that. Contrary to some ignorant individuals here who make stupid remarks regarding my lack of education or intelligence, I have a good education especially regarding the sciences and math so my info can be relied on as being credible at least more credible than many others that spout-off here. I am a little weak on my grammer and technical writing skills:o)

  28. Dorothea says:

    Dear Kevin,

    Anyone who actually lives in California will tell you that Proposition 9 kept their property taxes at the same rate if they remained in the house from the time that Proposition 9 was passed. A house purchased for $150,000 is now worth close to a million dollars, but still taxed at the $150,000 rate much like Florida does. Now, ready to retire, government employees sell and reap the profit, many leaving the state rather than paying exhorbitant high taxes on a new home and a higher state tax that ensued because the state is attemting to compensate for their ridiculously low property taxes on long time homeowners. California, which once had superlative education, library, park and other culturally oriented systems, has lost that edge primarily because of Proposition 9. Pension systems may be blamed for a state’s problems, but I would look more at citizens who don’t want to pay taxes and then gripe about everyone else’e good fortune reaped from their own stupidity.

  29. Dorothea says:

    Kevin, if pension systems are not fully funded, exactly who do we blame? Not unions. If you take a look at the protests in midwestern states, there are plenty of firefighters and cops out there in the protest lines. BTW, I consider it beautiful, not ugly, that the American middle class is out there protesting the takeover of our great country by corporations and their puppet Republican controlled governments. Anyway I thought you were leaving us and getting out to enjoy this beautiful? weather.

  30. LivinginReality says:

    Kevin, you are missing it the leaders in Tallahassee are cutting education by 1.75 billion and those same people are giving tax cuts to corporations totaling 1.6 billion. You do the math cut from education and give it to corporations that make a lot of sense.

  31. kevin says:


    Using your own reasoning, explain the divergence from tolerance for the tea-party participants who we’re attacked with such vitriol and repugnancy and these union groups? I watched and noted instance after instance of unfair, dishonest (because some descriptions were incorrect to such a high degree that it could only be dishonest) reporting perpetuated by many so called news outlets. If I recall your comments, they described their gatherings as something less than “beautiful” and in all fairness I never saw one as radical and ugly as what has been allowed to occur in WI. If the tea partiers acted such, heads would have been broken, even though many were older and frail, and people would have been slammed into the jails.

    This next paragraph is very important as a question to this electronic community!

    *****Answer the above please Ms. D., and tell me I am wrong in that analysis. Answer only the one straightforward comment—Do you think the tea partiers in your area were beautiful in their mild mannered protest compared to what is happening this time in WI, and their radical somewhat violent, notably disruptive activities during actual work hours in a work environment on public property? I have yet to find one, not one where any tea party protests or town hall meeting that escalated to anything more than yelling. And to date, not one of these union backed protests involved the use of pepper spray as was done in two events involving participants at town hall meetings (they we’re not even tea-party people but residents of the area). Look at WI how the GOP member was surrounded in a very frightening fashion, where even I would have been concerned for fear of imminent threat to my person. ****

    It is no embellsihment to state that I am at my computer about 18 hrs a day/5 days a wk., because of school and work so I only get to look outside and comment on its beauty. Your remark about me going outside is funny because I thought specifically as it turned ugly quickly–watch how something gets spawned into something else personal about me related to the weather.

    On a side note…An observation I noticed is that the other side is never willing to be friendly once they see that one is not on the same side and in allegiance with their personal ideologies. It is sad but is the basis supporting a comment I once made that there is really no point in talking anymore because conservatives will forever get trampled on at every level, fairly and unfairly. Attacks on their/our intellectuality is what I have observed and noted to be the number one ad hominem attack, followed by inability to critically think, followed by greedy, corporate profiteering advocate, eater of their own children, and uncharitable.

    I can think of a few comments that were the FIRST to launch rebuttals from my end that came from you and worse people like Norton Smitty and this person PalmCoaster as well as others, NS is usually the ugliest and seems to be proud of himself for being such (he also is probably the one least capable of keeping up with me in a all encompassing test of both physical and intellectual abilities. Looking back the comments I referenced support the above paragraph a lot! It is ok though because I possibly understand you people better than you may understand yourselves:oP

  32. kevin says:

    “Kevin, if pension systems are not fully funded, exactly who do we blame? Not unions.”

    No techincally, not the unions. I agree on that. My comments were specific in stating they…” need restructuring.” It is the fault of elected leaders approving increasing growing, skewed demands presented yearly from very powerful unions.

    LivinginReality…what goes in in your head???

    “You do the math cut from education and give it to corporations that make a lot of sense.” Where do i concur with anything involving increasing corporate welfare at the detriment of education? For God’s sake, shake out the cobwebs in your head and try to perceive me more of onjectivity, reacting about something I’ve stated more on actual comments then something you imply I’ve said, falsely I might add.

  33. palmcoaster says:

    Living reality and Dorothea your both realistic and well intended statements here to Kevin, will totally fall in deaf ears as I suspect that he is here all these hours of the day just spreading muck and trying to create confusion on the current sad events taking place all over from WI to NJ. He is one of those thriving on these attacks on our American workers and middle society. Also keep in mind that money talks very loud when is properly directed by the 400 billionaires personal special interest. Some of them did not make their wealth creating industries they do it by trading our 401K’s, our pension funds, our commodities like oil, gas, wheat, sugar coffee and our food, needless to say our pharmaceuticals too.. That is why GOP wants to do away with our social security and privatize it, so Wall Street gets its paws all over it to trade it to their benefit as they done with our 401K’s where they bet and made billions and we lost it all, including a good chunk of our principal’s. Otherwise read next how some of those that Kevin defends and as just one of many an examples celebrate their Bday’s after total deregulation made them billionaires in the last 20 years. Boderman founder of one of those “private investment groups”.

    “In 2002, for his 60th birthday, Bonderman had The Rolling Stones and John Mellencamp play at his birthday party at The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. John Mellencamp played for an hour, The Rolling Stones played for an hour and a half and comedian Robin Williams entertained guests between acts. The party cost $7 million, making it one of the most expensive private concerts ever held.[3]”

    All above possible simply because “slavery is very profitable”

  34. Dorothea says:

    Kevin, unless you saw the so-called violence on faux news, you remember the violence in Wisconsin with the palm trees in the background, there was no violence in Wisconsin. Just shows exactly how absurdly false faux news is. Where do you find palm tress in Wisconsin? As for the handful of tea baggers, they where bussed in compliments of the Koch brothers.

    I do believe in the right of tea party to demonstrate, regardless of how ill-informed the tea baggers may be. However. since they are not supporting the middle class, but the rights of corporations to take over this country, I don’t find them beautiful, just stupid.

    Your posts represent outright passive aggression. I prefer those who can be honest about their thoughts, regardless of the language. Regarding your paranoic reference to my spawning unfriendliness regarding the weather, I merely asked about your statement that you were going outside to enjoy the beautiful weather. But your taking that as “unfriendliness” says more about your state of mind then mine.

    In closing, unions represent the middle class, people like me who benefit from the 40 hour work week, weekends off, over time and a half or compensatory time off, health and retirement benefits which fortunately my employer did not squander. The tea party is getting duped into adopting a far right agenda that will bring this country to its knees and place it squarely in the hands of of the drooling with anticipation large corporations.

  35. palmcoaster says:

    If we all, the hard working people that makes possible to contribute to 32 percent of our government GDP revenue just with our “income tax alone” plus the ad valorem and the sales tax etc , will have the time to really research all data available regarding what we, as a middle society and workers wether private or public enduring, thanks to these Wall Street tugs sheltered by our elected politicians …we may puck while reading. But we are working long ours and taking care of our children and babies to get to the root of the truth as we are shown is mostly distorted. Now the ones like Kevin that look like do not have to put the long hours for a living, help to spread well “the hide it all muck”.
    Lets recall, lets tax imports, lets boycot buying gas from the largest oil companies and lets make the effort to “buy only Made in the USA”.

  36. kevin says:

    Dorothea I have to say you are delusional and fit the clinical definition of it with the comment:

    “Kevin, unless you saw the so-called violence on faux news, you remember the violence in Wisconsin with the palm trees in the background, there was no violence in Wisconsin. Just shows exactly how absurdly false faux news is. Where do you find palm tress in Wisconsin? As for the handful of tea baggers, they where bussed in compliments of the Koch brothers. ”

    Is it your belief that everything is fake at either fox reporting network? I do enjoy watching Fox Business news and from what I see from time to time indicates big problems. Try waking up from your delusional state and examine what is going on there as we speak unless you would rather remain delusional than informed. I expect your rebuttal will be more misinformed commentary and ad hominem comments about Fox, and individuals who watch the network. Sad but this apparently is the truth about you and your kind.

    I did not realize you are that bad off. I suppose its night time outside? LOL

  37. palmcoaster says:

    So here is one more of those sporting the Fox blind on their faces. Do you also drink from their urinals too…? No wonder you are so brainwashed!

  38. kevin says:

    He is Dorothea friends making their point:

    Yes, Dorothea this wasn’t made available everywhere but it seems the comments are ubiquitous to people like these protesters throughout the nation. Be honest now that you have shown your illness, like the others, your not really a decent person are you? Its just something you pretend to be so to seem normal when around others not of your ilk.

  39. kevin says:

    “Do you also drink from their urinals too…?” You are ridiculous PalmCoaster and not worthy of anything more thant that notation next to your name.

    Clear, uncontestable, violence and disruption at the WI capital.

    It will be amusing for me and some of my friends, who don’t get involved here but like to watch to see responses to stuff like that of my last link. Let it flow and don’t hold back ok?

  40. Dorothea says:

    Kevin, I viewed your last clip and the only violence I saw there was the cops illegally pushing the protesters out of their state capital. Except for a lot of camera movement, shouting and general noise, there was nothing particularly violent. The protesters right to be in the “people’s house” was later confirmed by the Wisconson court.

    Representative Capuato later apologized for his remark. However, it is hardly a film clip not available anywhere. Republicans have made a political advertisement out of it. I can’t vouch for every protester in the United States, but if a few individuals fail to be nonviolent, it’s their individual choice and a shame. The vast majority of protests have been noisy, but nonviolent.

  41. palmcoaster says:

    Kevin, what I saw in this video actually was violence against the tax payers protesters as are prevented the access to the capitol building that is owned also by them in Wisconsin and just that fascist Walker and his cronies prevent access! This video was actually taken by one of the demonstrators to show proof and evidence of the abuses that the capitol police is pressured to use against the will of the peaceful demonstrators, by this fascist Walker. Welcome to the new third world dictatorship operating in Wisconsin.
    So pick a different video to back up your lies!

  42. kevin says:

    How quickly you both ignore comments made in reference to the tea party and other conservative protesters, attacked for simply protesting, lest like your comarades in WI. Intellectually dishonest is what you should change your log-in name to. You couldn’t get around to the answering honestly one direct question that is how pathetic you both are.

    Good night. Oooh that is a sign of passive/aggressive according to Dorothea. :o) You’re fun-thanks.

  43. Liana G says:

    Kevin – This part was in response to DFL comment , so yeah I deserve the call out. Thank you for pointing it out.

    “Are unions perfect? No, but to ASS U ME that unions are the ones responsible for our corrupt government is corporate control spin brought to you by the same corporations that control our government. ”

    That did make me laugh for a moment. Linda, no where have I stated what you said. This seems to be a problem, reading and critical thinking.

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